Calcutta HC Rules Use Of 'Darling' As Offensive, Sexually-Coloured Remark


(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) The bench of Justice Jay Sengupta at the Calcutta High Court recently deemed the word "darling" to carry a sexual connotation, classifying it as an offensive and sexually coloured remark under Section 354A(1)(iv). This decision came during an appeal hearing for Janak Ram, who had been previously sentenced to three months of imprisonment by a lower court.

The incident in question occurred on October 21, 2015, in the Mayabunder police station area of Andaman, where the accused, Janak Ram, addressed a lady head constable with the words, "Kya darling challan karne aai hai kya" (Did darling come to issue a challan?). This remark was made during a police raid, and the court found it reprehensible and sexist, particularly as it was directed at a woman constable on duty during a festive night.

To note, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands fall under the jurisdiction of the Calcutta High Court. While affirming the conviction imposed by the trial court, the High Court modified the sentence from three months to one month. Ram's appeals to lower courts had been unsuccessful, prompting his move to the High Court. Former advocate general of Bengal, Bimal Chatterjee, commented on the verdict, expressing the view that a simple warning might have sufficed instead of imprisonment.

Senior advocate Subroto Mookherjee questioned the classification of "darling" as derogatory, citing its dictionary definition as a term of endearment. He suggested that a fine could have been more appropriate in this context, considering the lack of malicious intent.

However, former Calcutta High Court Justice Rabindranath Samanta supported the decision, considering the word's usage in this instance to be sexually coloured and deserving of punishment. Psychologist Amit Chakraborty weighed in, affirming that the term "darling" inherently carries a sexual undertone and should only be used within certain relationships.

The ruling has sparked debate among legal experts and psychologists, highlighting differing perspectives on the interpretation and societal implications of language used in public interactions, particularly within the context of law enforcement.

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